The 1st Quarter Regional Implementing Team (RIT) Meeting held on January 31 – February 1, 2018 allowed the representatives from several regional line agencies, local government units (LGUs), and civil society organizations to review the gaps in the previous RIT plan implementation.

Issues Raised

                The RIT drew attention to the need to strengthen advocacy regarding Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health (RPRH) and refine the entries in the online Responsible Parenthood and Family Planning (RPFP) Monitoring System to clarify relevant indicators in the said records.

                The lack of birthing centers, sanitary toilets, and other mother-baby friendly facilities in certain areas remain a barrier in carrying out quality maternal and infant care. The low contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) in Baguio and Benguet and the increasing teenage pregnancies emerge as top concerns for the RIT.

The RIT members forge detailed RIT plan for 2018 as they grace the meeting in Baguio City.

Agreements Reached

                To strengthen the RPRH advocacy, the RIT secretariat was tasked to draft a resolution on the inclusion of family planning activities during human resource development programs of concerned agencies or offices. The RPFP topic would also be introduced in the syllabus of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) new recruits. The secretariat was also tasked to contact the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to inquire about the possibility of including the submission of the RPRH Law Accomplishment Report as an indicator in the Seal of Good Governance. In addition, the group agreed to scale-up demand generation activities in the Province of Abra, being the priority area for zero unmet need in relation to family planning.

Accreditation of hospitals that feature mother-baby friendly health facilities and LGUs with maternal care package was deemed a priority. Hence, the quality of maternal and newborn care would be expected to improve upon compliance to the Department of Health (DOH) Memorandum on hospital accreditation. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC)’s assistance in accrediting the said facilities was sought.

The RIT gained the support of Luzon Health, Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), National Youth Commission (NYC) and other partners to conduct a study on primary health care intervention to lower maternal and neonatal deaths. The RIT would also explore the possibility of including sanitary toilets as one of the conditionalities for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps).

                To combat the low CPR rate, the RIT agreed that family planning programs be extended to jails and workplaces in coordination with concerned agencies such as the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

                All the LGU and agency plans submitted and presented were approved by the body. The next RIT meeting was set in Abra. The Department of Health would make the necessary arrangements with the required agencies in Abra prior to the meeting.